Taste of Korea: Easy recipe for folded gimbap

Photos by ChiHon Kim
Photos by ChiHon Kim

Taste of Korea: Easy recipe for folded gimbap

by ChiHon Kim
Stripes Korea

Thanks to social media, folded gimbap, a South Korean quick bite, is gaining quite a following. You can find this savory treat that resembles a sushi roll all over the peninsula, from  traditional markets to high-end buffet restaurants.

Gimbap is basically a rice roll wrapped in a seaweed sheet (or gim in Korean) and filled with different ingredients, including meat and vegetables. These ingredients are layered and rolled together, then cut into bite-sized pieces.

Making it at home gives you a great opportunity to try gimbap and use the ingredients you enjoy most. Usually, to make gimbap with skill, a bamboo rolling mat and a sharp knife are required to ensure the ingredients stay in place.

However, this recipe doesn’t require these two things and takes less time. The ingredient list of this recipe is also flexible, so it’s a great way to clean out your fridge for a quick meal. So, don’t be intimidated and give this folded gimbap a try!

- PREP TIME: 20 mins 
- COOK TIME: 10 mins
- TOTAL TIME: 30 -40 mins 


• 2 cup cooked rice
• 2 sheets of seaweed  
• 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
• 1/4 Tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
• A pinch of salt

Spam gimbap sandwich version

• 4 Tbsp of seasoned rice
• 2 pieces of spam, fried
• 2 eggs, fried
• Thinly sliced carrot, fried
• 1/3 cucumber, cut into bite-sized
• Lettuce
• Perilla leaves

Crab and cheese sandwich version

• 4 Tbsp of seasoned rice
• Crab meat 80g
• 2 eggs, fried
• Some pickled radish
• 1 to 2 pieces of sliced cheese
• Thinly sliced carrot, fried
• Lettuce
• Perilla leaves


1) Cut the veggies and ham into bite-size portions and set them aside.

2) Season your warm cooked rice with salt and sesame oil and gently mix.

3) In a pan over medium heat, sauté sliced carrots for 7 to 8 minutes until almost softened.

4) Carefully break four eggs into a small bowl and whisk them until combined. In a pan over medium heat, cook the eggs until the white becomes solid.

5) In a pan over medium heat, cook the sliced spam until golden brown on both sides.

6) Lay out the plastic wrapper first and then put a seaweed sheet on top of it. (The rough side of the seaweed sheet should be facing up, which will allow the rice to stick to the seaweed sheet.)

7) Cut the seaweed sheet halfway through for folding.

8) The way of putting a filling in the seaweed sheet varies by personal taste. In my case, I spread the rice evenly on the bottom-side of the seaweed sheet. Then, put the rest of ingredients on the remaining sections.

9) Starting to lift the bottom left section first and keep folding it until the fillings completely parcel with seaweed sheet.  Gently press the whole gimbap.

10) Wrap it in plastic wrap tightly and cut it in half with a knife.  Bon appetite or 잘 먹겠습니다! (Pronounced: jal meok-ke-sseum-nida)!

Tips for making kimbap

• Leave some gaps between each section so you can fold them easily.
• Remove moisture from wet items such as washed veggies.
• One section can be filled with more than one item, but do not put too many items on it.


Speakin’ Korean

Kimbap chatter

  • Are you hungry?  배고프세요? Baegopeuseyo?
  • What do you want to eat? 뭐 먹고 싶어요? mwo meokgo sipeoyo?
  • I’d like to eat gimbap. 김밥 먹고 싶어요. Gimbap meokgo sipeoyo.
  • Good! There's a place nearby that makes good gimbap. 좋아요! 근처에 김밥 잘하는데 있어요.  Joayo! Geuncheoe gimbap jalhaneunde isseoyo.
  • Gimbap is really tasty! 김밥 진짜 맛있어요 gimbap jinjja masisseoyo.

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